Is your medication making you sick?

Some of the most popular medications in the Some of the most popular medications in the world are "fluorinated," meaning they were created using a backbone of fluoride -- the same fluoride used in toothpaste, insecticides and some supplements. Photo Credit: iStock

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Dear Pharmacist: You said that some drugs are related to fluoride and may cause hypothyroidism or other diseases of the reproductive tract. Which medications and why? -- D.L., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Shocking, I know! Some of the most popular medications in the world are "fluorinated," meaning they were created using a backbone of fluoride -- the same fluoride used in toothpaste, insecticides and some supplements.

The situation with fluoride is that it competes with iodine in your body. It tricks the cell into thinking it is iodine because it looks similar. Once enough fluorine atoms hook onto your cell, you become iodine deficient. That could make you thyroid deficient because your thyroid gland cannot produce any thyroid hormone without iodine! Iodine protects your male and female reproductive organs, like your breasts, uterus, ovaries, prostate, testicles and all your private parts.

When you take a fluorine-containing drug, I worry that you will become deficient in other minerals, especially iodine. You may become fluoride toxic. I'm not saying drugs cause illness in your private parts (though they could), but really, it's the drug mugging effect of fluoride-based medications that could raise risk for iodine deficiency. Chronic fluoride ingestion could spell side effects, which unfortunately won't get spotted as a "side effect" -- rather they will be diagnosed as some new disease that you don't authentically have. Many practitioners and patients have no idea their medication contains so much fluoride-related compounds.

You should ask your doctor if you need to continue your medication or if you can switch drugs to something in the same therapeutic category that is not fluorinated. Never suddenly stop taking a medication because some cause dangerous withdrawal reactions, in particular antidepressants. If you have to take your medication, then you can evaluate your iodine status with a 24-hour urine analysis. If it's low, you may want to supplement. Now, here are some popular fluorinated drugs:

-- Some statin cholesterol drugs such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol)

-- Fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and levofloxacin (Levaquin) implicated with dangerous "floxing."

-- The antidepressants fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa) and escitalopram (Lexapro)

-- The popular antifungal fluconazole (Diflucan)

-- The medication used for major depression and obsessive compulsive disorder called fluvoxamine (Luvox)

-- The infamous drug midazolam (Versed), which was implicated in the death of pop superstar Michael Jackson. It's commonly used to relieve anxiety and induce drowsiness before surgery.

The symptoms of fluoride overload are numerous, and include problems with hormones, thyroid, sexual organs, the heart, nervous system and GI tract. Do you think you have fluorine overload or iodine deficiency? It's a possibility if you take a fluorinated drug.

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